Could carbon payments be a solution to deforestation? Empirical evidence from Indonesia
Up to 25 percent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation, and Indonesia is the third largest emitter worldwide due to land use change and deforestation. On the island of Sulawesi in the vicinity of the Lore Lindu National Park, smallholders contribute to conversion processes at the forest margin as a result of their agricultural practices. Specifically the area dedicated to cocoa plantations has increased from zero in 1979 to nearly 18,000 hectares in 2001. Some of these plots have been established inside the 220,000 hectares of the National Park. An intensification process is observed with a consequent reduction of the shade tree density. This study focuses on the impact of carbon sequestration payments for forest management systems on smallholder households. The level of incentives is determined which motivates farmers to desist from further deforestation and land use intensification activities. Household behaviour and resource allocation is analysed with a comparative static linear programming model. As these models prove to be a reliable tool for policy analysis, the output can indicate the adjustments in resource allocation and land use shifts when introducing compensation payments. The data was collected in a household survey in six villages around the Lore Lindu National Park. Four household categories were identified according to their dominant agroforestry systems. With carbon credit prices up to €32 tCO2e-1 an incentive can be provided for the majority of the households to adopt the more sustainable shade intensive agroforestry systems. The results show that with current carbon prices the deforestation activities of the majority of households could be stopped. A win-win situation seems to appear, whereby, when targeting only the shade intensive agroforestry systems with carbon payments, the poorest households economically benefit the most, the vicious circle of deforestation can be interrupted and land use systems with high environmental benefits are promoted.
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